Plenty of blogs open with quotes. We've got one by Robert Frost: "Nothing gold can stay.” See how classy that is? No wonder people open essays with poetry. The reason why it works here is because it resonates; it meets us on that level where we as humans have a shared experience. The sun does set. Blissful marriages do end. Summer comes to a close. Hopefully, you've collected plenty of golden hours and memories with your family during the summer months, but it's time to start preparing for back to school. I know this because the stores are already full of bins holding colorful pencil sharpeners, pencils, rulers, index cards, and the almighty boxes of crayons.
Preparing for the return to school after you and your spouse have split brings its own set of emotional struggles, but if you keep a few things in mind, it will ease the stress. Like any ritual, there’s a power to repetition. Create a new ritual with your kids, and have fun picking out folders, stickers, and a new lunch box. Some of you may even be picking out masks, and if you are Southern, getting them monogrammed.
Come to an agreement with your ex about who buys what for the school year. Kids are expensive. They are tiny humans we must feed, clothe, and guide through life. Decide who will buy school supplies, clothes, socks, new backpacks, pay registration fees, and then stick to the plan. In most cases there will be a parent who can afford more. Try to balance this out. Be fair to one another because it’s not about you, it’s about your children. This isn’t just back to school, it’s also back to ballet, piano, tennis practice, or whatever extracurricular activity might apply to your children. Talk this budget through as well for the coming year.
Decide now how to split up your child’s school schedule: who is picking up, who is dropping off, who runs the kids to dance or soccer, etc. Things have changed due to the pandemic, so keep timing in mind. This is a big job, and sometimes one parent does all of it because of work schedules and availability. Be fair, think of the kids, and try to split this important task up in the best way for all of you. Maybe dad works past the final school bell, but can grab a few minutes with the kids on some mornings. Do it. It’ll mean the world to the children.
Parents and Teachers
Please communicate with your teachers. Teachers have emails now, and even text with some parents (this is up to the teacher). Your child’s teacher can be a great ally. They can alert you when they think something might be wrong, they can lift up your whole day by sharing something wonderful about your kid, they can be an extra support when you or your child are struggling. If you communicate with the teacher, many times it opens up the pathways for them to be more communicative with you.
Yes, summer is winding down. Squeeze out as many moments from these last few weeks as possible! Remember: They’ll only be this age during this summer at this minute. Enjoy it.
If the situation allows, work with your former spouse and their family for a solid school year. Get the paperwork completed, buy the new backpacks, maybe download some apps to keep the communication clear for all, but remember to keep the kids in the center of your decisions.
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